This beautiful Italian cookie will be a lovely addition to any Christmas cookie tray with its delicate almond flavour which gives it a light, almost-macaron like texture as you bite into one. The flourless batter gets its structure from crumbled almond paste beaten into egg white meringue which while difficult to work with, benefits from a brief rest in the fridge before it goes into the oven. The recipe, from Ciao Chow Bambina, instructs to roll the dough into pignoli/ pine nuts but I found it easier and less messy to sprinkle them over after piping the cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets. Though the finished cookies should have been golden in colour, my inadvertent lack of watchfulness resulted in them being overdone by a minute or so with no major harm done taste-wise so I would advise you to set a kitchen timer and rotate the sheets halfway through to ensure even browning for crisp and visually perfect cookies.

PIGNOLI COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated white sugar

3 egg whites, room temperature

280g almost paste, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup pine nuts/ pignoli

Confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Method:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and egg whites.

  • Crumble almond paste into egg mixture and add salt and almond extract. Whip mixture until smooth.

  • When mixture is smooth after about 5 minutes, set aside allowing batter to firm up, about 10 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the pignoli into a bowl.

  • When the batter is firm enough, scoop 1/2 tablespoon measures and roll the batter into the pine nuts.

  • Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden.

  • Rotate pans from the upper and lower thirds of the oven, half way through baking for even browning.

  • Leave the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack before sprinkling them with confectioners’ sugar.

Pignoli Cookies

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